We are continuing this series on shame and its effect on passive men.  Once again, I was inspired to work on this series after reading an article titled, Turning Shame to Gold: Men Feeling Shame, Men Healing Shame by Dr. Guarnaschelli.  This is a kind of dark topic for most men so consider if it is a post you can read without letting it weigh you down too much.   Today we are going to look at how shame controls a man.

A man controlled by shame may not strive for perfection but constantly compare himself to a standard that he cannot reach.  Any missteps along the way may stick with him for days, weeks, or years.  Any time that pursuit comes back up he may reflect on the misstep and be paralyzed to make any positive movement to remedy the perceived error.  I would describe this as cutting your arm off a millimeter at a time.  Each pass of the knife only injures a little bit but the continual mental cuts soon will make the arm useless and unusable.

When a man is grasped by Chronic Shame he becomes a total slave to it.  As shame becomes a man’s  guide to protect him over time it is also a brilliant wall builder to separate him from any danger, real or perceived.  Shame will cause a man to run away and hide from anything that gave him pain in the past. Shame’s walls isolate him from not only the problem, but from others, and even separate the man from himself.

To close this post, I would like to leave you with a quote from Dr. Guarnaschelli.  In the next post, I would like to start on the process of how to get out of the grip of shame.

In sum, thanks to my real experience, I’m shamed. I feel unworthy, uncertain, powerless, and blocked. I am paralyzed. I trust no one, including myself. I’m profoundly afraid, though I probably won’t admit that even to myself. My own shamed energy works against me to keep most of my qualities, and my Shame itself, hidden, unknown even to myself. Aware of little or none if it, my Shame therefore denies and protects its own existence. In any case, I have every reason to cling to the shamed reaction that, however unfortunately, has saved me in the face of rejection and betrayal…and that by this time in my life defines the only roles I believe I must assume to truly be a man. I will feel guilty, selfish, or egotistical about trying to do anything to change my situation. And, only by ensnaring myself in the literal dilemma of shaming myself further do I usually approach healing it at all.

  • Dr John S. Guarnaschelli, Ph. D